Getting outdoors is still good for you, even with COVID
In these times of COVID-19 and social distancing, some people are having trouble finding ways or ideas to stop the cabin fever. The typical ways we combat that attack on our psyche actually expose us to a viral attack on our body.
A co-worker mentioned that they were out of ideas and the children and the adults were growing tense from watching too much television or reading too much without exercise. I read a health article talking about how important it is for children and, yes, the elderly, to get “outside air” regularly, especially as the temps improve.
The article talked about how physicians have known since that Civil War that a patient kept in a tent hospital, with plenty of outside air circulating, were inflicted with fewer complications like pneumonia and other infectious processes.
They recovered faster and had better outcomes than patients in a traditionally constructed hospital for long periods of time. During wars since then, getting patients outside to see the sun became important to most long hospitalizations. The article also talked about the immune system and how it functions at a higher level with proper amounts of Vitamin D in the system, and that requires sunlight.
Living in the country, there is no end of things to do. But all work and no play does make Chuck a dull boy.
Here are some ideas of fun things to do that the whole family can enjoy, while getting some air, sunshine, exercise, and not feeling bored. Hunter or not, the woods provides a lot of enjoyment, especially once the snow is gone.
Clark County Forest is nearby and encompasses over 130,000 acres. Taylor County has not only the Chequamegon National Forest; it also has over 17,000 acres of county forest.
All have two track roads and other trails for hiking. Taylor County Forest even has a small lake. Clark County forests have rivers and streams to enjoy, and the National Forest area have all three.
There’s plenty of space for a whole lot of people to social distance, enjoy a hike in the outdoors, let the dog run free a bit (be mindful of wolves, they are quite defensive of territory this time of year so keep dogs close), and look for sheds. It won’t take long to feel better; you don’t have to hike miles, just stretch the legs.
Take a grill along and grill something. Bring a few lawn chairs, some cheap wood for a campfire, stuff for s’mores, and a cooler of drinks. After the hike just chose a spot in the woods next to your vehicle, someplace convenient. Maybe by a lake, stream, or river for visual enjoyment, unless you have very young children, in which case you may want to be away from water.
Let the kids build a fort, throw sticks for the dog, climb a tree, or pick leaves while you’re be starting a campfire and grilling some venison steak and potatoes on the grill. Maybe you prefer brats or burgers, or better yet, just cook hotdogs on a stick over the fire, followed by s’mores.
You don’t need to get the kids up before sunrise to do this; you don’t need to cook either. An old fashioned sandwich picnic works too. Stay until you feel the cooling afternoon air arrive and head home in the daylight for a casual dinner.
If you like to ride bicycles, maybe go for a ride in the forest areas. As the ice leaves rivers and lakes, we can canoe, kayak or boat. We can fish for panfish year round.
Combine these with cookout type picnics here and there and it will help. It’s healthy outside air, Sitting on the deck or in the wind-protected space of your garage or porch for an hour even helps the cabin fever.
Combined with a radio and cocktail, it can be quite relaxing. And don’t underrate a campfire in the backyard at least one night a week in place of TV. I’m sure some other ideas hit you as you read this.
We have wonderful things to do in our rural landscape Maybe they are not as exciting as going to a Brewers or Bucks game for some. But they don’t cost as much either.
Hotdogs over an open fire might not be as gourmet as scallops or grilled ribeye, but I’ve never seen anyone not enjoy theirs or the s’mores afterwards.
Get outside, it’s healthy for you.
CHUCK K OLAR LOCAL O UTDOORSMAN